The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Bring back the Non-Traditional Student Board!

When this school year began, changes were made in the Associated Students of the University of Utah Executive Cabinet, and one of those changes happened to the be the removal of the Non-Traditional Student Board.

The termination of this board was, at best, a blatant disenfranchisement of a large segment of students on our campus. ASUU is showing that it is disregarding the interests of these students, who pay the exact same tuition and fees as the rest of us.

The average college student is 18-24 years old, single and childless. However, at the U and a growing number of other schools around the country, there is a large portion of students who fall into the “non-traditional” category. This category includes married students, students with children and international students, as well as students in medical school, law school and other graduate programs.

This year, under the new ASUU administration, the Non-Traditional Board was dismantled, and the groups it once represented were subsumed into the Diversity Board.

Since then, ASUU has realized that the combination puts too many responsibilities on one board, and now the diversity director only worries about diversity itself, with the added responsibility of the international students.

But where do other non-traditional students go to have their needs met? Who in ASUU is dedicated solely to the interests of U students who don’t fit the stereotypical mold?

Yes, people at ASUU can say that they are keeping these students in mind, but it is very easy to let them become marginalized when there are other projects on the horizon.

Rand Smith, the former director of the Non-Traditional Student Board, organized a multitude of events last year to benefit and entertain the U’s non-traditional students. There was a Homecoming raffle, International Week, an Easter egg hunt and the Students With Families Conference.

On top of the activities, Smith assisted with the university student apartment elections, sat on a board for the ASUU child-care program and served as an advocate for international students at the U.

Smith said that none of the events or benefits he oversaw last year have happened this year-which is understandable, considering the fact that other boards are likely already swamped with their previously assigned duties.

It would be extraordinarily difficult for the Diversity Board and others to take on new responsibilities and complete all the things that the Non-Traditional Students Board did on its own-which is why the board should have been kept on the Executive Cabinet.

Instead, there was a consolidation-and without their own board, it is easy for the needs of the non-traditional students at the U to be overlooked.

It all comes down to the basic fact that tuition-paying students fund the student government. That in and of itself should guarantee every student, whether he or she is married, international or 18-years old, the right to be represented by the people whose boards they fund and whose salaries they pay.

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